As we slowly-slowly-catchy-monkey return to town, a large slab of of our shopping epicentre is celebrating Britain with the launch of a street photography exhibition showcasing seven decades of achievement through Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Her Maj celebrates her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, becoming not only Britain’s longest serving monarch but also the longest-reigning living monarch in the world. The open-air exhibition featuring more than 180 images is being hosted by Brum's Retail BID with the exhibition displayed on large (and I do mean large) panels and vacant store windows along New Street, High Street, Union Street, Cherry Street and Victoria Square from July 29 — see above for the trail. Each display panel features stories, key dates and background info, too. Below are just a handful, with many of the iconic pics having charming Birmingham hooks. Liiiike this one...
The Beatles in Birmingham
It began with a chance meeting at a church fête in Liverpool 1957 when John Lennon, who was performing with the Quarrymen, was introduced to 15-year-old Paul McCartney. McCartney joined the band, with George Harrison joining a year later in 1958. Stuart Sutcliffe was brought into the band to play bass with Pete Best on the drums. They called themselves many names, but the band finally decided on ‘The Beatles’ in the summer of 1960. After playing in Hamburg during 1960/61, The Beatles returned to Liverpool, but Sutcliffe decided to leave the band to study painting at art college, and the five members became four. It was at the Cavern Club in Liverpool when Brian Epstein saw The Beatles play. He approached the band and a five-year contract to manage them was signed in 1961. EMI then signed The Beatles in 1962. Pete Best was eventually replaced by Ringo Starr. The group recorded their first album, ‘Please Please Me’ in June 1962, produced by George Martin and it went to No. 1. Martin continued to work with The Beatles helping them create and develop their unique style for the next eight years until the band split in 1970. In total 11 out of The Beatles’ 12 studio albums went to No.1 in the UK charts. The pic shows The Beatles wearing police helmets as they arrive at the Birmingham Hippodrome in the hope they can outwit the crowds, back in 1963.
Glastonbury is the biggest music festival in the UK with thousands of people visiting the Worthy Farm site in Pilton, Somerset for five days in June. Not only can visitors enjoy music, but dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts. The site covers 900 acres, is a mile and half wide with a perimeter of about eight and a half miles. The first festival was known as the ‘Pilton Festival’ or the ‘Pilton Pop Party’, until it was eventually branded as Glastonbury in 1981. It was set up by farmer, Michael Eavis in 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died. At that time, it was hoped that 5000 people would attend, but only 1500 turned up, to Michael’s disappointment. Tickets were £1 including free milk. T-Rex headed the line-up after The Kinks pulled out at the last minute. From humble beginnings, the festival has grown massively. By 1989, the festival attracted 65,000 rising to 135,000 in 2019. Weekend tickets that year were sold in less than 36 minutes. There are 79 stages at the festival and the main one is the iconic Pyramid Stage. The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Jay-Z and David Bowie have performed. The image shows Stormzy performing on the Other stage in 2017. Two years later, he was back, this time on the Pyramid stage, making history as the first black solo British artist to headline.
It took 15 years of planning, designing and construction before Spaghetti Junction was completed. Initially commissioned in 1958 by the Ministry of Transport, this engineering feat was finally opened in 1972 at a cost of £10.8 million, the equivalent of £87 million today. Spaghetti Junction, or to use its correct title, The Gravelly Hill Interchange is the most complicated junction in the UK, linking the M6, A38 and A157. The Bromford Viaduct has a total length of around 3.5 miles and carries the M6 motorway from Spaghetti Junction through Birmingham, making it the longest viaduct in the UK. Spaghetti Junction carries almost four times more traffic per day now compared with when it opened, making it a key junction in our motorway network. It is held up by nearly 600 concrete columns, spans a main railway line and two rivers (the Tame and the Rea) and three canals. The picture was taken in 1972.
The ‘Prince of Darkness’ and the front man of Black Sabbath, is probably the most famous living ‘Brummie’. Born in Aston in 1948, his musical career rose to prominence in the 1970s, both with Black Sabbath and as a solo artist. In 2001, the reality TV show The Osbournes featured life within the Osbourne household, and became the third highest rated show on cable TV, catapulting the whole family into stardom. The show ran until 2006; the same year that Black Sabbath was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Black Sabbath have won numerous awards including the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and a Grammy in 2016. Ozzy as a solo artist, has won many awards including a Lifetime Achievement award from GQ magazine, Best Worldwide Solo Artist from Planet Rock and the Global Icon Award from the MTV Europe Music Awards. Ozzy was the first recipient of the Broad Street Walk of Stars in 2007.
Launched in 1959 the Mini quickly achieved iconic status during the 1960s. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis for the British Motor Corporation, it was built at the Cowley plant in the West Midlands. Originally marketed as the ‘Austin Seven’ and ‘Morris Mini-Minor,’ it was designed to provide space for four passengers and luggage. Issigonis had to overcome the challenges of the limited space available and the Mini was fitted with a transverse engine with front wheel drive layout; a unique solution for its day. Due to petrol rationing caused by the Suez crisis, it also had to be economical to run. Formula One designer John Cooper recognised the potential of the Mini as a racing car. He collaborated with Issigonis to create the ‘Mini Cooper’ in 1961 and then the ‘Mini Cooper S’ in 1963. This dynamic little car went on to win 32 rallies around the world, including three wins at Monte Carlo; the first time in 1964. The photo shows Minis driving through the Coventry sewers during the filming of the iconic car chase in ‘The Italian Job’ in 1968.
Pride events have been held worldwide since 1969, with the first one being held in New York. The UK holds over 100 Pride events each year nationwide, with attendees numbering over 5 million. June is Pride month — a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. LGBT+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. The + is an inclusive symbol to mean 'and others' to include people of all identities. The rainbow flag with its many colours representing diversity has been used as a general symbol of the community since the 70s and was inspired by Judy Garland's Over the Rainbow. The picture shows Birmingham Pride, in 2019.
When Pakistan-born Malala began campaigning against the Taliban to regain access to education for both herself and other girls throughout the region, she became a target. And in 2012, as she gained notoriety, the Taliban made an attempt on her life when she was just 15 years old. She was flown to the UK and treated by the NHS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, her family settling here shortly after. In 2013, on her 16th birthday, she celebrated by giving a speech at the United Nations; her first public speech since the attack. In the same year, she founded the not-for-profit Malala Fund with her father. Based in Birmingham it campaigns to provide equal education opportunities for girls around the world. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2017. She graduated from Oxford University in 2020. Malala Yousafzai is pictured at 16, at the opening of the new Library of Birmingham in 2013.
Princess Diana in Birmingham
Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961, at Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk to Edward Spencer, Viscount Althorp, the 7th Earl Spencer, and Frances Ruth Roche. As a young girl, she attended school in the UK before completing finishing school in Montreux, Switzerland. On her return to England, Diana became a kindergarten assistant at the Young England school in Pimlico. Diana and Charles, Prince of Wales announced their engagement in February 1981 and were married on July 29th. Their first child, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Henry (“Harry”) Charles Albert David, in 1984. The couple divorced on August 28th, 1996. ‘The People’s Princess’. used her growing celebrity status to aid numerous charitable causes extending to the arts, children’s charities and helping to promote understanding of those afflicted with AIDS. One photograph, taken in April 1987, of her gloveless hand shaking the hand of an AIDS victim helped spread the message about HIV, which raised awareness and changed the public's perception of the illness. She was also involved in efforts to ban landmines. Public interest in Diana continued to grow, and media coverage of her every move became intrusive. She was killed in a high speed car crash in Paris, 1997, whilst trying to evade pursuing journalists. The image shows Princess Diana at the official opening of Victoria Square, Birmingham in May, 1993.
Concorde, developed jointly between the UK and France Concorde was built at Filton, Bristol and Toulouse, France. The first UK Concorde was completed in 1969, and she made her first transatlantic crossing in 1973. In 1976, the world's first scheduled supersonic passenger service was launched with British Airways initially flying the aircraft from London to Bahrain. Concorde made nearly 50,000 flights carrying more than 2.5 million passengers until she ceased to operate in 2003. She was flown on chartered flights to destinations all over the world, but due to the aircraft’s noise and operating expense, the service was limited. At the end of her service, the only regular destination was New York. The standard flight time would be approximately 8 hours but flying on Concorde would reduce the time to just under three and a half. The aircraft measured 62 metres in length and had a take-off speed of 250mph, a cruising speed of 1350mph – more than twice the speed of sound — and a landing speed of 187mph. She had the capacity to fly 100 passengers and carry 2.5 tonnes of cargo. Pictured: The first pre-production Concorde, 1972. Beneath its nose are 50 mini Concordes produced by Corgi Toys.
World Cup Winners
The greatest crowning achievement of any football loving nation is to win the World Cup, and in 1966 those dreams came true. Managed by Sir Alf Ramsey and captained by Bobby Moore OBE England faced West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley. With West Germany scoring a goal early on, England battled back to equalise and then lead 2-1, only to concede a late goal which meant extra-time. In the 101st minute, Geoff Hurst’s effort hit the cross bar and deflected downwards, with the linesman and referee signalling a goal. However, it was controversial as even to this day none of the pictures show it conclusively over the line. Minutes later, Hurst scored again to complete his hat-trick and sealed a 4-2 win for England. Who will ever forget TV commentator, Kenneth Wolstenholme’s iconic words “They think it’s all over. It is now!”. Pictured: Captain Bobby Moore holds aloft the Jules Rimet trophy as he sits on the shoulders of his teammates. They are L-R: Jack Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton.
The collection has been curated by street gallery experts Wecommunic8 and sourced from the extensive MirrorPix archives. It's free to visit.
WIN 4 BRITNEY BRUNCHES
Tonight Josephine — a pink emporium located on Stephenson Street — is open for business and unlike anything else in the city. Home to bottomless brunches, a wild cocktail menu and Instagram-worthy interiors, we've teamed up to offer one reader a Britney Brunch for them and three pals. Taking guests on a nostalgic trip back to the Noughties with a day dedicated to Britters, ‘The ‘It’s Britney Brunch’ is booze-filled with live performances, lip sync battles, an hour of bottomless prosecco or beer, food and giveaways. To be in with a chance of winning, just head over to the ICB Instagram and follow the simple instructions. Other themed brunches include the ABBA-charged 'Gimme, gimme, gimme that Mamma Mia bottomless brunch!' and a burlesque-inspired number. The interior, as you can probably tell, is see it to believe it stuff. Enter
Next week is quite a busy one for the CBSO. On August 4 they'll announce their new season — the last one with virtuosic Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (pictured) at the helm — so make doubly sure you book. Then, that night, Mirga will conduct this at Symphony Hall. After that show and throughout the night and following day, the tech team and the orchestra will head down to the Royal Albert Hall as Mirga conducts the same concert for the Proms, live on the BBC. Included in the performance is Ruth Gipps (a pupil of Vaughan Williams), who started her career as an oboist with what was then the City of Birmingham Orchestra in 1944, before becoming established as a composer. Thomas Adès Exterminating Angel Symphony is next up, while Brahms’s Third Symphony will also get the Mirga treatment. Tickets for Symphony Hall are £28.
The city's first Black British Book Festival is coming to Legacy Centre of Excellence — Europe's largest Black-owned Business and Arts centre, formally known as The Drum — on August 8. Some of the nation's most established and upcoming black writers and publishers will be at the event spanning a range of genres. Expect book, signings and a Black Children's Book reading corner, with creative activities and writing workshops. The event will be hosted by Brum's Poet Laureate, Casey Bailey. Among many, Casey will welcome writer and filmmaker Aliyah Hasinah (pictured) whose work focuses on decolonial approaches to history and the present.
Weston-Super-Mare might be our nearest seafront but it's unlikely to feature in November's Ocean Film Fest, for which tickets have gone on sale at the Crescent Theatre. The new collection of the world’s most awe-striking ocean-themed films, from below and above the surface returns, with a selection of short films starring wild seafaring voyages, extreme watersports and marine conservation from the least explored depths of the planet. The Festival originated in Australia ("Straya!"), with the aim of inspiring people to explore, respect, enjoy and protect the oceans. One three-minute crowd pleaser is Kate Hamsikova's The Sea to Me. Kate is a freediver and swimming instructor whose connection with the sea grew thanks to a single local dolphin, Dusty (above). Dusty has inspired Kate to push the limits of what she is able to do and build her self-confidence around exploring the ocean. Below is a still from the faster-paced short Matador, which explores what happens when you combine a professional skim-boarder, a bunch of swell-chasers, underwater and aerial shots and an immense soundtrack. The answer? Doolally footage. Watch the trailer here, tickets are available here for £15.50.
LUNAR SOCIETY: BACK AND FEMALE
Boulton, Watt, Darwin, Priestly, summonsed for Power of Invention, the new outdoor theatre show about Birmingham’s Lunar Society, which is taking place in the gardens of Soho House on July 30 to 31 and August 7. The Lunar Society, whose ideas went on to shape the modern world, would regularly meet at the house to dine, conduct experiments and discuss the latest scientific theories. But (TWIST!) this show is an all-female cast. Julia Wright of Boldtext Playwrights, who's producing the show, says: “Although very forward-thinking on many issues, the Lunar Society didn’t have any female members, or even allow women to attend their meetings. We thought it was time to turn the tables by finally inviting women to take part in the Soho House story." The House, home to 18th Century entrepreneur and industrialist Matthew Boulton, is one of the city’s most immaculate buildings, cared for by Birmingham Museums Trust. The show lasts around an hour and will run three times a day. Tickets cost £12, or £22 with a picnic box. Book
Venue: Relish Eats, 1262 Pershore Rd, Stirchley, B30 2XU; no website, no facebook account, nothing. Love that. Choice: Curry Mutton (£6) Chooser: Tajuan
The hours of 5pm to 7pm on Tuesday weren't my best. Morning wardrobe choice turned out to be poor come early evening so I decided not to cycle home in the deluge. Someone moved the number 45 bus stop so I walked around in the rain for 30 minutes looking for that, before the sun came out. I then decided to cycle after all, just in time for the rain to return, then I got a puncture. I had to walk my bike back to the office in the downpour (a journey during which one lad felt the need to invoke The Inbetweeners and call me a "bike w*nker") before finally getting on a train to Stirchley. Things picked up at this point when I walked into Relish Eats to the tune of Buffalo Soldier. The chef out back was playing his pans like a steel drum and Tajuan, the preposterously handsome front of houser, chuckled at the state of me before recommending jerk chicken and curry mutton. It's Tajuan's uncle rattling the pans to Bob Marley and his dad, who owns Celeb Cuts barbershop a few doors down, makes up the triumvirate. At the point of the photograph the chef is bellowing "what's this guy's order" before a huge thumbs up. The place is alive with activity, the phone going off at intervals of about every 2 minutes (on a Tuesday!), showing they're doing something right. The jerk chicken was smoky and rich and fall-off-the-bone-able, while the curry mutton was hotter than many I've tried, (I'm such a wimp) but the meat was supple and morish. They gave me a festival on the house because they didn't have rice and peas (just white rice). A festival is like a dumpling only sweeter, it goes great with jerk and is now a mainstay on every Caribbean meal I'll ever order. Okay, Brummies won't travel from far and wide here, but for those in Stirchley and the surrounding, it's yet another vivid and vivacious string to south Birmingham's culinary bow. One tip: if they say "do you want sauce with that" you say yes. You say yes, you want loads. I was left wanting for jerk sauce despite the barbecue notes carrying the meat through the ample rice. Luckily I had Pip's Hot Pineapple sauce which complimented the meal perfectly, but it would have been a blow if I hadn't. Long story short, everything down to the smily face carry bags at this place is upbeat. Upbeat enough to turn a terrible Tuesday on its head. Bike w*nker indeed... Menu
First we went hunting for owls, then it was bears, now it's colossal Oscar statues. New public art installation dedicated to the NHS launches in Brum next month. More
There's a Star wars quiz at The Old Crown on Wednesday (Aug 4). Jedi mind tricks strictly forbidden.
Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival have, like most, had a rough few months, but they have pulled together a brand new lineup for their rescheduled date now running August 20 to 22 at Moseley Park. Day tickets start at £55.50. Details —
The kids eat free deal at Pho is excellent. Unless you don't have kids. —
A darts match using the original dart board and cabinet salvaged from the now demolished Birmingham pub The Eagle & Tun — made famous as the location of UB40’s Red Red Wine music video — will mark the end of the 'Experiments with Everyday Objects’ exhibition at Eastside Projects'. Tomorrow and free. More —
Tudor Grange Park, Solihull, will host a 50-piece orchestra playing Ibiza anthems. I have no idea how that's going to work but at £33 a head it wants to. Tickets —
Tan Rosie are doing Caribbean cookery classes in Witton. It's £150 for a full day or £99 for half. These are seriously lovely people.
"Finger neber say "look here," him say "look yonder."
Jamaican proverb meaning 'people don't like to point out their own faults'
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